Windows 8 RTM downloaded and installed

After mashing refresh on Technet for most of the day I’ve got my hands on Windows 8 Enterprise RTM and with the help of the Microsoft USB Download Tool installed it onto my x100e.

I’ve ran a couple of iterations of Windows 8 along the development cycle on this same bit of kit, which helps when looking for differences between the Consumer and Release Previews vs the RTM finished product.

Only had it running for about 10 minutes so far but already noticed some differences for the better…

Installation

Nice and quick (as you’d expect from an SSD) but also noticed some visual tidying up has been done. The blue background looks a bit cleaner somehow, along with a funky colour transition as it sets up apps. Nothing major but looks more polished.

Part of the way through a full screen graphic shows up instructing you move your mouse into the corners once installation is complete. Not quite the UI tutorial I was expecting but better than nothing I guess (I wonder if this shows up on consumer machines that have been partially configured already?)

Stepping through configuration tasks and your online account is nice and easy, all moves through at a satisfyingly quick pace.

UI

Immediately noticed a big difference here. It seems Microsoft has listened to feedback and sped the whole interface up by a couple of milliseconds. Might not sound a lot but hot corners and splash screens don’t have that sluggish feel now.

The jury’s still out on Metro ModernUI, still trying to figure out if there’s any jump list functionality from the start screen as it’s a feature I use regularly; clicking into the Desktop to get them from the taskbar isn’t something I want to be doing if the start screen is here to stay. Still want more control over the colour and style of tiles and background, hopefully something will emerge in the future.

One oddity I’ve just noticed that will confuse users is hiding the minimise and maximise window controls when in desktop mode. Can see that being the subject of numerous support calls!

  

One annoying UI quick that appears to have stuck is the lack of consistency of scrolling in Metro ModernUI apps. The start screen is fine, I can scroll just by swiping my touchpad across. If I go into a Metro ModernUI app this doesn’t work and I have to use horizontal scrollbars, which are very awkward in comparison. What also doesn’t help is the lack of contrast between the scrollbar and white app backgrounds, meaning I often miss the drag. No such problems with the mouse plugged in, scroll wheel works across the board. Looks like something that slipped through the net but is rather irritating for those using a standard touchpad.

Skydrive

While creating the screenshots above I wanted to save into Skydrive to transfer to my desktop PC before uploading, expected to be able to do it from Paint but no sign of Skydrive in the Save As box. The quickest way seems to be to save the image then open it up in the Metro image viewer and share to Skydrive… not exactly seamless so further investigation required there.

Initial thoughts

RTM feels a lot better than the preview releases, as you’d expect really but only time will tell how good it is in day to day use on a desktop. If I’m feeling brave I might try 8 on my work machine next time I rebuild it to see whether Metro ModernUI can be tamed without a touch screen.

Will add more to this post as I go along with my experiences over the next couple of weeks and if I find any more surprises squirreled away in the RTM. Next job is to get Office 2013 back on…

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